Tim Allen, who raised eyebrows last year after likening being a conservative in Hollywood to living in 1930s Germany, has opened up about ABC’s firing of fellow right-leaning actor Roseanne Barr.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the comedian — whose sitcom “Last Man Standing” was canceled last year by ABC before being rescued by Fox — said during a panel at the Television Critics Association press tour that the network “had to do what they had to do” when it came to firing Barr. Barr’s rebooted sitcom was canceled in May after she sent a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, an adviser to President Barack Obama. ABC has since ordered a spinoff of the show that will not include its titular star.
Allen, who plays an outspoken conservative on “Last Man Standing,” also spoke of his longtime friendship with Barr, whom he called “the most diverse and tolerant woman I’ve ever known for a long time.” He added that “it’s a very icy time” for comedians.
“I’ve been a comedian for 38 years, and I’ve never seen it, like Lenny Bruce said at the Purple Onion, ‘We’ve gone backwards,’ ” Allen said, as quoted by Entertainment Weekly and other outlets. “There are things you can’t say. There are things you shouldn’t say. Who makes up these rules? And as a stand-up comic, it’s a dangerous position to be in because I like pushing buttons. It’s unfortunate.”
Fox said earlier this year that the success of the “Roseanne” reboot, which premiered in March to a whopping 18 million viewers, factored into its pickup of “Last Man Standing,” which was among a slew of shows ABC canceled last year. The sitcom will begin its seventh season on Fox this fall.
Barr’s character on “Roseanne” was an avowed Trump supporter, but Allen stopped short of definitively calling his character, Mike Baxter, a supporter of the president.
“The guy’s probably a centrist,” Allen said, according to the Daily Beast. He added that Baxter “owns a big business,” and that “if it’s helping his business, he’s probably pro-Trump.”